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Heavy snow began falling in Wichita late Monday morning as a new winter storm moved into Kansas with strong north winds.
A blizzard warning is in effect for the Wichita area until noon Tuesday. Wichita could see 7-to-10 inches of snow by then, with more amounts to the south.
Wichita Deputy Public Works Director Joe Pajor said the city has purchased 1,800 tons of sand to use on streets, but the main focus will be on plowing. He said the sand will be used with salt at the end of the storm, when it will be most effective.
Pajor said the sand cost the city $16,000, and for comparision, he said the city used 4,800 tons of a salt-sand mix during last week's winter storm at a cost of $119,000. He said the sand comes from Hutchinson, and it's more difficult to get because of heavy demand from other cities and states during the winter.
Costs and future needs for the city will be evaluated after the storm.
Pajor said it is unprecedented for Wichita to have two major winter storms like this back-to-back, and the big difference with this storm will be the strong north winds. Winds could blow snow back onto the roadway after the plows have gone through, making it more difficult to keep the roads clear. In addition, the focus on plowing the streets could leave them slicker and more hazardous than they were in last week's storm.
Pajor said after a break on Sunday, street crews are back on 12-hour shifts until the storm ends. The city is urging motorists to avoid unnecessary travel during the storm, but Wichita Police Lieutenant Doug Nolte said people who have to get out should make sure all of the snow is cleared from their windshields, headlights and tail lights and from the side view mirrors.
Nolte also urged residents to check on neighbors who may have special needs, to make sure they're OK during the storm.